Bait and switch?
The editorial, “Lottery gamble is paying less” (April 20), rightly discloses much of the ugly truth behind the N.C. Education Lottery.
Back in the early 2000s, I asked my N.C. senator about opposing the creation of a state lottery. He said that he was going to support a lottery because all the “profits” would go to education. My reply was that this didn’t mean it would not change in the future — and it did. Plus, as I feared, lottery money is used increasingly to fund expenses that were previously covered by the state budget.
Lottery finance is the most regressive of taxes and takes advantage of those with gambling addiction. Empirical evidence indicates that lottery play falls with formal education and that approximately 10% of active players account for 50% of the total amount spent on the lottery.
It seems the lottery is here to stay in North Carolina, but the state should at least adopt restrictions on advertising. The current TV ads that promote the lottery as a public-spirited activity are gratuitous at best. ABC stores are a close analog, but unlike the lottery, the state does not engage in marketing activities and sales promotions for liquor sales.
As someone who values individual freedom and a vibrant democracy (aka, a conservative) I am struck by the behavior of North Carolina’s Republican legislators, who I had thought shared these values but apparently do not.
To cite three examples: First, they propose to make it illegal to drive with a mattress atop your car. Second, they want to force state employees such as teachers to notify parents when their children display “gender non-conforming” behavior, even when the child is an adult of 18-21 years of age. Finally and most perniciously, they are working tirelessly to restrict voting access rather than work to make it super-easy for citizens to participate in democracy by voting.
I don’t know how anyone can support these measures and still call themselves “conservative.” It seems more like hypocrisy: “Conservative-in-name-only” legislators (aka Republicans) wail like infants about lost freedom when it comes to public health measures like wearing a mask during a pandemic or preventing mentally ill people from owning firearms. Then, they try to legislate against civil rights, voting rights and even the right to transport your own bed.
Doesn’t sound conservative to me; sounds like the nanny state we should all oppose.
Race and shootings
Regarding the letter “Blaming the victims” (April 22): The reason you don’t know of white people being killed by police when they did not resist or run is because white victims have suffered the same fate, but whites don’t make the news. Read this opinion column on why white shooting victims are ignored from The Washington Post dated July 18, 2016: “Police shootings and race.”
An excerpt from that article: “... As of July 9, whites were 54 percent of the 440 police shooting victims this year whose race was known, blacks were 28 percent and Hispanics were 18 percent.” Another quote: “Had any of these victims been black, they would have stood a good chance of becoming household names; instead, they are unknown.”
North Carolina has active and retired federal and postal employees totaling about 148,480. The top three largest employers in North Carolina are 1) Department of Defense, 2) U.S. Postal Service and 3) Department of Veterans Affairs.
During the past year, federal employees have dedicated themselves to keeping our country running while weathering a pandemic.
They continue to provide essential financial services, processing stimulus payments, tax refunds, small-business loans, Social Security checks, mortgages and student loans to keep the economy churning and households operating.
As they do every day, they have kept us safe — tracking cyber threats, protecting the food supply and alerting Americans to treacherous weather conditions — and provided care to our nation’s veterans, among other critical and life-saving tasks.
Many were on the front lines, risking their own health to serve the American people. The pandemic took a heavy toll on these public servants: Countless workers were sickened while at work and thousands died as a result.
And while many feds could work remotely, they put in hours around the clock, often while struggling to care for their families, like so many Americans.
Throughout the year, but especially during Public Service Recognition Week, May 2-8, Americans should express our thanks for these hard-working public servants, who make the everyday and extraordinary possible. We offer them our sincere appreciation.